Sell is a Four Letter Word

BY Jennifer Gluckow
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Jen, I’m not in sales.”
Wanna bet?

Here are 6 situations that define why everyone's in sales:

    • Have you ever negotiated to buy a car?
    • Have you ever negotiated to buy a house? Sell a house?
    • Have you ever tried to get bargains or find things on sale?
    • Have you ever argued about the price of something?
    • Have you ever persuaded somebody to your point of view?
    • Have you ever asked for a raise?

You, my friend, are in sales.
You may not consider yourself a salesperson but you're still selling (whether you want to admit it or not!)

Think about the things you “sell.”

Selling your point of view, your ideas, your choice of where to eat or where to vacation. Even what’s for dinner – it’s a sale. A persuasion to gain agreement to your choice, idea, point of view or action. A sale.

You need to sell yourself (to a college, to a company for a job, to a potential life partner). NOTE: While there is no price tag attached, you’re still having to communicate your value, build relationships and close the deal.

You need to sell your ideas. They may be to your boss, to internal colleagues or to customers. But, regardless of to whom you are selling, you need to communicate your value, build relationships and close the deal.

See the big picture? Sales isn’t just a career — it’s a way of life.

Many people in sales want to believe they help the client. Well, here’s a secret — the best salespeople are helpers. The best salespeople care and are genuine. And the best salespeople believe in themselves, their companies, and their products. They believe the customer will be better off with their solutions. Sound like you?

I’ve met a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners all over the world who love their craft – they love what they’re creating and believe in it, but don’t know how (or want) to sell it. Here’s a clue: a company without a leader in sales is not a company. At least it won’t be for long.

For many, sales is a dirty word — I get it. You associate it with a sleazy or pushy car salesman (or woman!), or the worst sales experience you’ve ever had.

Here’s a lesson I learned from my early sales days: In high school I worked in a neighborhood clothing boutique. During my first day on the job, my manager said, “DON’T force anything. If something doesn’t look good on someone, find them something that DOES look good. DON’T let anyone go home with something that doesn’t look AMAZING.”

At first, this seemed contrary to selling — wasn’t I supposed to sell the most clothing possible (and thereby make more commission)? Isn’t that why they hired me? To sell?

After helping a few customers, and following my manager’s strict instructions, I realized why she was right. If the customer went home with something that didn’t look right and modeled it for her spouse or her friends, and her “trusted advisors” said, “Ew return it,” she would never trust me (or shop with me again). But, if she got the “oooh la la” response, she would be back in a New York minute. And bring her friends.

The lesson: Tell the truth. Make a friend. Become a trusted advisor and you win. Your job as a salesperson is to help the client.

No one wants to feel sold. Do you?

Everyone wants suggestions, recommendations, knowledge and expertise.
Customers want to feel like you’re solving their problems, not selling them.

When you're genuine and sincere, you build trust. That trust allows you to sell in the future.

A personal and powerful sales experience: I worked at a company that had salespeople (let’s define them as helpers with sales quotas) and account managers (defined as helpers, without sales quotas). The account managers would sit with the customers a couple times per year to review their account, figure out what was going right, what could be improved and how we could help. Sounds great, but it was a major problem. The salesperson often didn’t attend those meetings. So during that time, the account managers would become the trusted advisors and the salesperson would lose credibility because he only showed up when it was time to renew the account. Do you show up only when it’s time to collect a check? The account managers were able to recommend products or services based on the trust they built through HELPING.
LESSON: Be the helper all times of the year. Look out for your customers' concerns and problems. Check in on their accounts and make sure they are continuously better off with your solution. Maintain your relationships everyday, not just on a sales day.

If you produce the best product or service or have the best offer – the best pie, bread, crepe (can you tell I’m hungry?), software, solution of any sort, you need to be able to attract buyers, help demonstrate how they win with your solution, and have the confidence to ask for the sale.

Everyone is in sales. You’ve probably been selling since you were five years old, you just don't call it that.

Take a hint from Zig Ziglar, “I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don't hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.”

Admit it, you’re in sales. Now go sell something.